The Green Blotch: Hurricane Andrew Through a Six-Year-Old’s Eyes

Thu, Jul 12, 2012

Hurricane Andrew




BY TRINA SARGALSKI and DANNY RIVERO

Danny Rivero and his brother, Alexis, at their uncle’s wedding the day before Hurricane Andrew. They were furious about having to wear tuxedoes. Danny was the ring-bearer. (Photo courtesy of Danny Rivero.)

Danny Rivero is our social media editor here at WLRN. You don’t hear his voice on the radio, but Danny’s is the voice of WLRN on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr.

In 1992, he was six years old and living in Fairfax County, Virginia, but he happened to be visiting Miami during Hurricane Andrew. Around the same time, he’d been listening to tapes of the story, “The War of the Worlds” by Orson Welles.  His mom would play them for Danny and his brother, Alexis, before they went to bed at night.

Before she ever played the tapes, Danny’s mom explained the back story of the original 1938 broadcast of a dramatization of “The War of the Worlds”–that people thought this was really happening and panicked. Young Danny was fascinated by this back story as he listened and suspended his disbelief, wondering if this alien invasion really could be happening somewhere.

The day before Hurricane Andrew struck, Danny was in Miami for his uncle’s wedding.  He noticed the adults were transfixed on a green blotch on the TV screen. Six-year-old Danny absorbed that this splotch was scary to adults and meant destruction. However, he had a hard time sorting out whether this was a real broadcast or a dramatization like “War of the Worlds.” Listen to Danny’s account of Hurricane Andrew through his six-year-old eyes on the player above.

WLRN social media editor, Danny Rivero, at six years old.

Danny’s family’s house was alright after the storm, except for a large awning that blew down the street. Danny particularly remembers an uprooted banyan tree:

We went to my tia’s house in Shanandoah, and  they had a big banyan tree or a willow tree with those spreading roots. The wind had just knocked it over. The tree went sideways, and the roots were three times taller that I was.  I’m looking up at this huge wall of roots and it’s like 10-12 feet high.  It was huge to me as a child.  I was in awe that yesterday I was walking on these roots, and now they were my ceiling. It was a weird feeling.

RELATED LINKS

National Geographic: War of the Worlds-Behind the 1938 Radio Show Panic

Remembering Andrew: The Old Radio

This summer marks 20 years since Hurricane Andrew. And each week, we’re bringing you a story in our Remembering Andrew series.

Do you have your own Hurricane Andrew story to share? Whether they’re long or short, we need your stories for our “Remembering Andrew” series.  Share your story through the Public Insight Network.

Support for Remembering Andrew on WLRN comes from Best Roofing, South Florida’s forensic roof specialists.



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